Tigers Justin Wilson: New closer in town

The Tigers finally pulled the plug on K-Rod and named Justin Wilson as the new closer. He is a must-add for those in need of saves.

The Detroit Tigers are the newest team to shake up the bullpen. After making it through the first 30 games with Francisco Rodriguez as the closer, it’s time for a change. Justin Wilson will be the next pitcher to get a save chance for the Tigers. If you are in need of saves and missed out on some of the cheaper options, he is worth the add.

Rodriguez is like Fernando Rodney. Their ratio numbers are bad but they continue to win a job and earn saves. Rodney is still doing it, now in Arizona. Rodriguez had a good run but it’s over.

Rodriguez had a 60-save season in 2008. He recorded 44 saves in 2014 and 2016 with a sub-3.50 ERA. At 34 years old, he was still going strong. This season the bubble finally burst. In 13 games, he recorded seven saves in 11 chances with an 8.49 ERA, 2.057 WHIP and 13:5 K:BB ratio.

The ERA is a little skewed. As a reliever, one bad outing can skyrocket it to unbelieve heights, like Rodney’s or Rodriguez’s. The WHIP is where the concern is. He gave up 19 hits and five walks in just 11.2 innings.

At 15-15, the Tigers may not be competing for much this season but having a bad closer isn’t helping any.

Looking towards the future, Wilson has dominated this season. He has a 1.32 ERA, 0.585 WHIP, 22 strikeouts and four walks in 13.2 innings. He also has eight holds, four of which Rodriguez gave away.

His 1.61 FIP is in line with what Wilson is doing, so there doesn’t seem to be any signs of future regression. He’s allowed eight baserunners all season (I know, it’s just 13 innings). But even if the numbers look good, his manager may not think he’s long for the role.

Chris McCosky of The Detroit News reported that Tigers manager Brad Ausmus is skeptical about giving Wilson the job permanently.

“For right now, for the time being, we’re going to use Justin Wilson to close out games,” manager Brad Ausmus said before Tuesday’s game. “Hopefully we’ll get Frankie into some softer situations, get his command back, get his stuff back to where it was.”

Ausmus is pretty much saying that Wilson is getting the role until Rodriguez straightens himself out. I get it, though. K-Rod, or No K-Rod, has been solid for most of his career. Pitchers have hiccups. While he seems to be losing control, it could also just be a mental thing.

The downside here is that if you pick up Wilson to get you saves, he could go back to being the set-up man just as quick.

Ausmus also spoke about giving K-Rod some work and another save chance if Wilson needs a day off.

“Ideally, I’d like to get Frankie into a few games where he can work on some stuff,” Ausmus said. “If he does that, and seems like he’s coming back around, and Justin’s gone a couple games in a row, I might go back to Frankie to close that third day if need be.”

Rodriguez is still owned in 66.9 percent of ESPN leagues. So, there are some owners out there that still believe in him. Wilson, on the other hand, is owned in just 21.6 percent of leagues as of this writing.

Even if you play in a holds league, Wilson is worth the add.

Saves are a very tricky category. Unless it’s one of the few teams that have their bullpen situation locked down, you can’t predict where the saves are coming from. Just look at the Nationals situation. If you are looking for a quick boost, add Wilson. It could turn into something longer, like Bud Norris in Los Angeles.

If nothing else, he can help your ratio stats and strikeouts.